Think to move; healthcare for the Facebook era and more

Bulletins, Media bulletins

A working prototype of a wheelchair steered by thoughts, rather than hands, will be demonstrated live to the public in Sydney next week.

About 700,000 Australians live with severe disability—many entirely dependent on someone else to move.

They may soon be more mobile thanks to the Thought-controlled Intelligent Machine (TIM), developed at the University of Technology Sydney.   Read more here.

Also read about:

Healthcare that works for the Facebook and Skype era

Launch and embargo 10.30 am today, Friday 17 August 2012

With Victorian Health Minister David Davis MLC

At The Alfred Centre, Monash University Lecture Theatre, Level 5, 99 Commercial Road

Fed up with explaining your medical history over and over again? Sick of waiting rooms? Can’t remember the name of the drug you had a reaction to? Lost your referral letter? Does your aging father keep forgetting when to have his health checks done?

These are just some of the problems being solved by a new e-health program that works. It’s been tested by 10,000 chronic care patients, 1,000 GPs and 3,000 allied health practitioners and the results speak for themselves.

Today the project – known as Collaborative Care Cluster Australia – goes national, with a call to action for GPs, patients and allied health professionals to get on board and online to streamline the management of chronic illness and tackle a $60 billion healthcare burden.

If you’re in Melbourne and have time to come along to the launch we’d love to see you.

If not then a comprehensive media kit is available on request with quotes from working GPs and health leaders including:

  • Professor Paul Zimmet AO Director Emeritus and Director of International Research, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute;
  • Professor Leon Piterman AM Pro Vice-Chancellor, Monash University
  • Professor Greg Johnson CEO and National Policy Manager of Diabetes Australia;
  • Paul Cohen Deputy CEO of Barwon Health;
  • Jason Trethowan CEO of Barwon Medicare Local;
  • Stan Goldstein Medical Director at BUPA;
  • Professor Mark Cooper Deputy Director of Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.

“The digital revolution has already transformed how we keep in touch with friends, how we do business, book travel, buy music and much more,” says Professor Michael Georgeff, CEO of Precedence Health Care. “It’s time we used these same technologies to deliver better health care, more effectively, to more Australians.”

Rural Tasmanian GP Dr Myrle Gray says many of her chronic care patients have embraced the program enthusiastically. “They like getting the reminders, too. They enjoy it. It gives them a sense that they’re on top of their care plan. I have one 75-year old lady who told me that her son is getting her an iPad. She said she’s looking forward to accessing her plan on it.”

More at Before 10.30 am you’ll need the password ‘chronic’ to open the pages.

“Think of a Rubik’s cube to turn right, close your eyes to stop”

Thought-controlled wheelchair to help severely disabled

A working prototype of a wheelchair steered by thoughts, rather than hands, will be demonstrated live to the public in Sydney next week at the Ultimo Science Festival.

About 700,000 Australians live with severe disability-many entirely dependent on someone else to move. They may soon be more mobile thanks to the Thought-controlled Intelligent Machine (TIM), developed at the University of Technology Sydney.

Biomedical engineering PhD student Jordan Nguyen will be demonstrating the chair at a free public lecture as part of the Ultimo Science Festival, showing how the chair can be moved by thinking about turning a Rubik’s Cube or composing a letter. The chair can be navigated without body movement and can also sense its surroundings, says Jordan.

Seven years ago, after a diving accident, Jordan was temporarily paralysed.  Even though he recovered relatively quickly, the experience gave him a keen appreciation of how it feels to have mobility and independence restricted.

“I got to experience paralysis for a day and after doing some research later, I found that there just weren’t enough mobility options for people with severe disability,” he says.

Jordan began his research into TIM as part of his final year undergraduate project and was awarded a scholarship to continue the research. He is also part of the work to commercialise the chair and make it available to those who need it most.

In addition to his engineering exploits, Jordan came fourth in the 2010 Cleo Bachelor of the Year.

The demonstration and lecture is on 6pm Tuesday 21 August at the University of Technology Sydney Great Hall.

More information at:

For interviews, please contact:

Jordan Nguyen on 0421 748 231 or

AJ Epstein on 0433 339 141,

L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowships

The 2012 L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowships will be announced this Tuesday 21 August at 6:30pm at the award ceremony in Melbourne.

The Fellows are three exceptional young women scientists in the early stages of their careers. They’ll each receive AUD$25,000 to assist their research.

Then on Wednesday 22 August, 300 female high school students will head to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for the Girls in Science forum.

We have video available on embargo, and there is background information on the Fellowships and last year’s Fellows at

For the embargo password and media requests, contact:

Niall Byrne, Creative Director, Science in Public,

Are you a binge listener? Soundcheck Australia

Follow your ears online to test your hearing, take part in a giant science experiment and be in the running to win tickets to any concert that pleases your ears.

The National Acoustic Laboratories, the Hearing CRC and the ABC have teamed up as part of National Science Week to run Sound Check Australia, the national noise and hearing survey.

This massive online science survey will help build a picture of Australia’s hearing health and hopes to raise awareness about healthy hearing habits. People who take part in the online survey will be able to test their hearing, work out whether they are ‘overdosing’ on noise, and find out what part of their social lives could be putting them at risk.

The experiment comes on the back of recent research which suggests that some people are choosing to expose themselves to more noise than would ever be allowed in a sound-safe work environment.

“One of the things we are trying to get a handle on is just how big a problem this really is and not trying to be sensationalist about it,” says Elizabeth Beach, a researcher from the National Acoustic Laboratories.

But not only will volunteers be lending a hand to significant scientific research which could shape the future health of the country, they also get a chance to win $1000 worth of concert tickets. The Big Day Out, a Symphony Orchestra or The Wiggles, whatever the favoured flavour of noise, one lucky citizen scientist will be treated to the tickets of their choice.

Sound Check Australia: the national noise and hearing survey runs until September 12

Media contacts:

Frankie Lee: 0419 448-847,

AJ Epstein: 0433 339-141,